Letter to the Editor: 5K a major inconvenience to church parishioners

Dear Editor:

I'm writing today to express my outrage at what occurred yesterday morning as I and others attempted to get to our places of worship on a bright Sunday morning.

Sure, I knew the parade was Sunday, but we've always been able to get to church (St. Mark's for me).

After seeing Downey Avenue closed, I went up Brookshire, just to find the road closed at Cherokee with the road blocked going both north and west. I needed to go west. I managed to squeak by the barriers, only to be yelled at by a city worker. Hearing that we were attempting to get to our church, he let us go, but not before telling us we wouldn't be able to "get out."

Arriving at church, I found others who were turned back and had to park several blocks away and walk. The capper was one of our members who is handicapped and in a wheelchair with a health aide. They were literally stopped by one of our fine officers in blue, made to surrender their driver's license and registration, and were told, "I'll be giving this information to the district attorney to follow up on." They did make it through, but were quite shaken.

Since when can a city prohibit citizens from engaging in their constitutional right to worship? I'm sure all the churches located on Downey Avenue had the same issue.

Whoever planned a 5K to be run on a Sunday morning, closing all the major roads through downtown Downey where all these churches are located, should have their head examined. I hope someone in city government, or the chamber of commerce, can figure out a more appropriate time for this activity.

Dan Vaughn